Beets are a garden-fresh item, signaling the gardening season is well underway. I grew up disliking beets and remember years of watching my mother prepare them for my father, who loved them. She often made organic beet salad or pickled on the side with a good steak. For some inexplicable reason, I would not touch them. While I was not a picky eater, I was a holdout on beets until I had red flannel hash one morning and realized how short-sighted I had been for so many years. I now have jars of pickled beets for the winter and love to eat them year-round. Set a bowl of borscht(Beet Soup) with a nob of sour cream or creme fraiche in front of me, and I’m a happy camper.
Benefits of the Beet
Beets are an excellent source of folate and an excellent source of manganese, potassium, and copper. They are an excellent dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6. In addition, beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide—a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, turning them into superhighways for nutrient and oxygen-rich blood, which means better circulation possibly lower blood pressure. The result is increased blood flow to the frontal lobe of your brain, which is the center for executive functioning skills like focus, organization, and attention to detail.
The bottom line, beets are perfect for you and are considered a superfood. If you haven’t tried them, you should start. I can’t get enough of them now and wish I had enjoyed them as a child when my mother prepared fresh beets several times a week. It turns out my parents were right about some things after all.
A Few Things To Consider
This salad takes on a classic Salad Tulipe (poached pear, goat cheese, toasted candied walnuts) and can be made ahead with all the ingredients except the Arugula. Keep this dish in the fridge to chill, and pull it out on a summer day. It is refreshing, and the flavor profile is simply delicious. The orange segments and pistachios match perfectly with the beets.
If you choose to use Greek-style yogurt, draining overnight is not necessary since it has already been strained. Caramelizing the yogurt adds a tasty, subtle touch; however, if you don’t have time to do this, you can just spread it out as-is. The yogurt adds richness and mixes well with the other ingredients.
You may purchase the orange segments already done at the grocery store if you are lucky enough to live in an area where this is available. The Costco in my area also offers pre-peeled, trimmed organic baby red beets to make this salad on the fly. This recipe makes enough for eight, though you can make smaller amounts by dividing the recipe evenly by two or four.
Pairing with Other Recipes
Try this salad with a New York Strip Steak Traditional Argentian Chimichurri (Green Version), Creekstone Premium Black Angus Ribeye with New York Style Steak Sauce, or Fillet of Beef Roasted with Coffee and Pasilla Chile.
Organic Garden Beet Salad with Caramelized Yogurt
- cutting board
- vegetable peeler or sharp
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowls
- small casserole dish
- aluminum foil
- large ziplock plastic bag
- flat meat tenderizer or rolling pin
- 32 beets, organic small 16 red 16 yellow peeled and trimmed (Larger beets can be substituted if baby beets are not available)
- 2 tbsp oil, canola, or any neutral tasting salad oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar, white
- ¼ tsp salt, kosher
- ¼ tsp pepper, black, fresh
- 2 cups yogurt, organic drained 12 hours in the fridge in a coffee filter (If you are using Greek-style yogurt, you can skip this step, it has already been drained.)
- ½ cup pistachios, shelled roasted, chopped roasted, chopped
- 2 whole orange peeled, seeded, and segmented
- ¼ cup vinegar white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil, extra virgin Good quality
- 6 oz blue cheese Good quality
- 1 cup arugula, baby
Prep the Beets
- Peel the beets. (If you are using more than one color of beets keep them separate until ready to plate.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss the beets with avocado (or canola) oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Place the tossed beets in a shallow dish and cover with foil. Bake at (350°F or 175°C) for 35-40 minutes or until they are tender when poked with a knife tip. *The bigger the beet size, the longer this will take.
- Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into uniformed bite-sized pieces. (If you are using red and gold beets, put them into separate bowls to keep the colors from bleeding.)
- Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.
Prepare the Yogurt (optional)
- Place the plain yogurt in a paper coffee filter and drain for 12 hours or overnight.(If you are going with Greek-style yogurt, skip the draining and proceed to the next step.)
- Preheat oven at (250°F or 121°C)
- Pour the yogurt into an oven-safe pan and cover with foil. Place this pan into a larger pan filled with enough water to come up the sides of the first pan halfway. (Glass casserole dishes work best.)
- Bake at (250°F or 121°C) for 4 hours or until caramelized. Remove from heat and let the yogurt cool completely.
- In a blender or food processor, mix the yogurt to blend the caramelization. Reserve
Putting Together the Salad
- On a dry but chilled salad dish spread out a tablespoon of the caramelized yogurt.
- Add the prepared beets, orange segments, baby arugula, bleu cheese, and chopped pistachios in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Gently toss the mixture with a pair of tongs or your own hands with clean kitchen gloves.
- Neatly place the beet mixture on top of the yogurt on the salad plate and serve.